Cartersville Sex Offender Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Child Porn

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Jerry Joseph Southern, a convicted sex offender, was sentenced today to ten years of imprisonment for possessing thousands of digital images and videos depicting the rape and sexual abuse of children, including prepubescent minors under the age of 12.                                                                    

“This office remains committed to working with our state and local partners to identify and prosecute individuals who commit heinous crimes against minors,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Southern’s sentence of imprisonment reflects the seriousness of his recidivist conduct and the need to prevent him from facilitating the exploitation of more children.”

“Stopping those like Southern that victimize children by viewing and sharing these horrific images of children is one of our highest priorities,” said Acting Special Agent in charge Anthony J. Patrone who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Thanks to the great work done by our agents, along with our state, local and federal partners, we were able to remove a serious threat from our community and we will continue to pursue those who commit these evil acts.”  

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charge and other information presented in court: in July 2023, after receiving information that someone was using a cellular telephone associated with Southern to share videos and images of child sexual abuse, federal agents and local law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Southern’s Cartersville home. During the search, agents found a cellular phone that Southern had hidden in an air vent.  A search of the device revealed that Southern received, collected, and distributed a vast quantity of child sex abuse materials.

In 2013, Southern had been convicted of multiple counts of sexual exploitation of a child in state court after he pleaded guilty to the offenses. He was placed on probation and required to register as a sex offender after serving a prison term.  But he repeatedly violated the terms of his probation, resulting in additional terms of incarceration in 2014, 2019, and 2020.

Southern has been sentenced to ten years in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $28,500.00.  Southern pleaded guilty to possession of a visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct on December 19, 2023.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Murray County, Georgia Sheriff’s Office and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.